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Richard Chanfray's magic career started in 1973 in a Parisian theater, where he was announced as "the man who transmutes lead into gold". This alchemical act was supposedly performed without tricks.
He was born in 1940 in the French city of Lyon. His childhood was spent on the streets and he became a thief. Arrested for assaulting a woman during a robbery and sentenced to six years, he read some antique books in prison, and learned about Comte de Saint-Germain, the mysterious alchemist, who claimed to be capable of transmutating lead into gold, brewing potions, and acquiring immortality. Chanfray adopted that personality, using French high society's fondness for magic, esoterism and hermeticism. He quickly became rich and well-known through his exploits, for example giving divinations and psychic readings to various famous people as well as through his outlandish claims.
In 1976 he met the singer Dalida, at the height of her fame. Her husband, Lucien Morisse, and her lover, Luigi Tenco, had both previously committed suicide. When Dalida met Chanfray, she quickly became infatuated. She recognized his paranoia, however: he slept with a shotgun under his bed. He also spent another year in prison, as well as being forced to pay FF 500,000 restitution, when he shot a man whom he found naked in his kitchen late one night. The man was only superficially wounded, and turned out to be the servant's lover.
The incident marked the start of his decline. The couple ran out of money and Chanfray attempted music, painting, and sculpture, all without success. Dalida and Chanfray separated, but despite his problems, he continued to be a part of the celebrity society of Paris and Saint Tropez. He became the lover of the Trintignan "baroness", Paula de Loos, whose title was as false as his own. De Loos was, however, allegedly a millionaire and when Chanfray began to suspect the activities of de Loos's financial administrator, he threatened him with a rifle. He was again imprisoned and fined -- to which he looked to de Loos for help. She, however, was also heavily in debt.
He last appeared in public at a party in Saint Tropez, in June 1983. He was reportedly very thin, with white hair and an exhausted appearance.
On the 14th of July 1983, in a town near Saint Tropez, Chanfray and de Loos ingested barbiturates while inhaling the exhaust of his car. Nearby was a suicide note that read: "I leave and I bring her with me, because she is so like me..."
Richard Chanfray claimed to have many powers, most of them related to alchemy. He also claimed on numerous occasions that his knowledge came from a "mysterious man" whom he had met in his past. He swore to never reveal said person's identity.
Some of the powers Chanfray's claimed to possess:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Richard_Chanfray". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|